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the everyman memoirs

The official blog of author Tali Nay.
JAN
20

Typesetting with Cats

b2ap3_thumbnail_clem-jeweled.jpgThis is one of my favorite parts about writing books. When it's time to actually make the decisions about what the book will look like. I had several typesetting options to look over this past weekend, and as you can see, I need a bigger dining room table. I'm always so grateful in times like these to work with people who make my life easier, people who have the know-how that I don't (like how to go about getting the rights for a picture I like from an old Tiffany & Co. catalog).

And as long as I'm giving thanks, who wouldn't be grateful for such a diligent feline companion? Clearly she knows what title page she likes. If only I could be as decisive.

JAN
14

Out with the Old: Tarzan vs. Swiss Family Robinson

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I snapped this picture a few days ago because I like vintage typewriters and someday aspire to own one. I saw it, of all places, at Disneyland, in the treehouse that for so many decades was known as the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse, but which some years ago was converted into Tarzan's treehouse. I know, I know, Disney has to consider its audience and what is relevant to them, but as a person who has been going to Disneyland since I was a little girl, these changes can be somewhat disenchanting.

Take the princesses. I didn't see Cinderella or Snow White or Sleeping Beauty anywhere in the whole park. Not walking around, not signing autographs. But I did meet Merida, Elsa, and Anna, heroines who, prior to this trip, I hadn't even known who they were. But all the little girls were falling all over themselves to meet these new princesses.

This isn't bad. Ok, maybe it's a little bit bad. Mostly it just struck me on this trip that times change, that new stories replace old ones, and that Disney is, ultimately, a business. Don't misunderstand - I love Disneyland. And I love that it can be for each little girl what she needs it to be. I know this because it is still that place for me. Even if I don't know who any of the princesses are.

JAN
07

Polar Vortex

b2ap3_thumbnail_thermostat.jpg When I heard the power go off in the middle of the night last night, I went to immediate panic mode. And not just because it meant my heated mattress pad had stopped working. But mostly because it was -10 outside, and I wasn't sure how long my drafty Cleveland house could withstand that kind of temperature and still keep me and my cat alive.

This was the temerature in the house when I got up, brought to you courtesy of the mag flashlight my mother insisted I buy when I was setting up house in Cleveland. Also courtesy of Honeywell circa 1950.

At any rate, power and heat have been restored. The only thing I'm still without is water, as the pipes are still frozen. I showered at a friend's house, but it should be an interesting night if nature calls. I know, maybe I should have just slept somewhere else, but you separate a girl from her heated mattress pad, and you've got bigger problems.

JAN
04

Record

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I've written over 2000 words for 4 straight days, 8500 total, and for me, that's a record. I know it might not sound like that much for those of you who write for a living, but for a girl who has a full-time day job that does not involve writing, I'm quite proud of this. Of course my cat gets annoyed when my lap is occupied by my computer, but lucky for her, this kind of writing time is the exception and not the rule. And now for my next trick, I'm hoping to break 10,000 by the end of the day.

DEC
31

NYE Reboot

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Remember this post? Hopes and Dreams Well, this is the night. The night my wish gets shot into the sky at midnight in the middle of Times Square. And so I'm thinking about wishes. About hope. And also about resolutions. About resolving. To stop. To start. To move on. To never forget. To be happy. To make a change. Whatever it is, do it. Do it this year.

Happy 2014.

DEC
28

Carols with Sharps and Flats

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You've probably never thought about it before, because your family probably doesn't have a permanent slot on the Christmas program every year at church. Not that I'm complaining. I rather look forward to the Annual Picking Up Of My Violin, an instrument I played rather seriously for more than a dozen years, but now only play at Christmas. And maybe that's the problem with the annual Christmas number...that the majority of us who play ONLY play once a year. Not that Christmas carols are necessarily hard to play, but if you ever flip through the Christmas section of a hymnal, if such a section is even normal in traditional hymnals, you'll notice they vacillate drastically from key to key. And when you play them back to back, it's near impossible to remember if the song you're currently playing is the one with the E and A and B flats or if it was the one you just played. Or if the C sharp applies to an entire song or just one line. Or if this is the song where everything is normal and the next one is the one where everything is not normal. Or if this is the one where you have to use fourth finger instead of an open string for the E on the last line. Or if your bra strap is showing from all this bow-manhandling.

Somehow the annual Christmas number always turns out better than I think it will, and I know this is a strange way for me to illustrate this point, but I like knowing that in a crazy an unpredictable world, I can always count on the annual Christmas number. And I can count on my aunts, mom, and grandma to be standing right there with me. Of course I can also count on forgetting a few sharps and flats and consequently causing at least one person in the audience to wish this silent night had been a little more silent, but the point is, the annual Christmas number is important to me. It's Christmas. It's tradition, it's family, it's rosin and bows and piano and sheet music. It's also baby Jesus (I have not forgotten my previous post on sparkle), but mostly, for those few moments, it's me and my violin.

And those damn flats.

 

DEC
20

Sparkle

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I was asked to be the speaker last night at a Christmas-themed event, and I confess it was nice to get down to the heart of the matter. You know, Christ. Bethlehem. The manger. I would never want to seem insensitve or to offend those who don't share my beliefs, but it does feel weird to constantly hold back the Merry Christamases I always want to shout out at this time of year. So it was nice to be able to get it off my chest last night in front of a gathering of people who had asked me to do just that.

The Christmas season sparkles, there's no other way to say it. And I'm a person who loves sparkle. In studying diamonds, I've learned a lot about what actually creates sparkle, and between the angles and proportions needed to maximize sparkle in a diamond, I find it fascinating. When evaluating sparkle in a diamond, one of the main things you look for is fire. Actual flashes of color. In a truly excellent diamond, you'll see all the spectral colors when you rock and roll the diamond. The more color, the more fire. And hence, the more sparkle. As a lover of all things sparkly, sometimes I get caught up in the sparkly aspects of Christmas--the lights and decorations and food and parties--but I'm grateful for reflection, conviction, and, ultimately, the reason behind this holiday in the first place. It is, after all, the best gift I'll ever receive, and I'd take that over sparkles any day.

Well, most days.

Merry Christmas.

 

DEC
17

For-e-ver. And e-ver.

'Tis the season. This makes me smile every Christmas. Enjoy.

 

DEC
14

Art is In

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I've always wanted to be an artist. I know, I know, writers are perhaps considered a kind of artist, but that's not the same thing. I've always wished I could draw. Or that I had the ability to create something with my hands. Anything. I have so many friends and family members who sew, who draw, who have an eye for crafts and creating things that are darling and unique and that make me feel horribly untalented. To each his own, so I guess my point is that I'm grateful for people who are talented in these areas and who use those talents to brighten the lives of others.

This random art tagent is brought to you by the fact that I got the artwork back this week for my second book. Something about seeing it and getting a sense for how it will influence the overall look of the book is exciting...because this is happening. And soon. Yay for artists. In the truest sense of the word.

DEC
08

For the Love of Words

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Admittedly, I think Toms are kind of ugly. But I fell in love with the sparly silver pair and decided I had to have them. (It's hard to resist anything that sparkles, as my readers will find out this spring when book #2 comes out.) But then I saw these...the pair covered with words and their definitions. If ever there were a perfect pair of shoes for an author, these are them. Except in reality, the perfect pair of shoes for an author would be much cheaper. Anyway, the word-loving part of me won out, so the sparkles will have to wait. For now.

Oh, and do you like how as soon as I decide I can finally get behind Ohio State, they lose? Not sure if that's ironic or if I'm just very, very bad luck, but this morning I find myself feeling a bit down about it. Make of that what you will.

 

DEC
05

I Need to get on Board

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As an Ohioan, I make this confession at great risk of peril, but I've never been able to embrace the Buckeyes. And I'm not sure why this is, as I fell in love with the Cavaliers the moment I moved to Cleveland. I even root for the Cavs when they play my Portland Trailblazers (who--let's give credit where it's due--are white hot right now). So it's not that I refuse to claim Ohio as my place of residence. It's just that I feel no attachment to Ohio State.

Especially in a year like this one...where my Ducks couldn't hold themselves together and it looks like the Buckeyes might actually get themselves to the championship game. This thouroughly depresses me, but I'm wondering if it would be that bad to be a fan. To cheer. To wish them well. A coworker was trying to sway me on the matter today by saying that while he is a tried and true Buckeyes fan, he also likes the Ducks. And other than situations like the 2010 Rose Bowl, I guess there's no reason why I can't be a fan of both. (Although part of me just died a little inside when I said that.) It'll take some getting used to, but, like I said, let's give credit where it's due. And undefeated is a very sparkly word.

 

NOV
28

Grateful

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In thinking today about what I’m grateful for, my mind went back to the moment a few months ago when I snapped this picture. The man I loved had just decided to break up with me instead of propose, and I was completely undone. Questioning everything from my actions to my attributes, in that moment all I knew was that it hadn’t been enough. That I hadn’t been enough. Which is why seeing these words scrawled on the side of the Brooklyn Bridge as I walked across stopped me in my tracks.

I won’t say these months have been easy ones. As horribly not-put-together as this makes me sound, I still miss him. Us. But if I’m grateful for anything today, it is the resilience of the human spirit. I’m grateful for support, even if it comes from far away. Grateful for the chance to take new paths, even if they aren’t the ones I would have chosen. Grateful that the things we have will always trump those we do not. Grateful to feel so blessed, today and always.

NOV
26

Cheryl Strayed in the Cleve

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In all the craziness of last week’s travels, I wasn’t able to mention that Cheryl Strayed was in town. Author of Wild, which I quite enjoyed. Sometimes it’s puzzling to think of an author speaking, because what exactly do they speak about? Their book? Everyone in attendance has read it. Their life? Everyone in attendance knows all about it because we’ve read the book.

Well Cheryl Strayed gave what I can only describe as the perfect remarks. She went into some background and additional detail on both her life and the book, and I could have listened for hours. Her thoughts on writing, particularly on writing memoirs, I found helpful and true, and it’s comforting to know she struggles with some of the same writerly things I do. Like balancing honesty with the part of you that doesn’t want to hurt people’s feelings. Loved hearing about the person who had issue with how they were portrayed in Wild. Loved hearing how she responded, how it made her feel. Loved being in a theater full of people there to support her. Truly, it is the dream.

NOV
23

Road Trip

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I was on the road this week for work, and while I did decide to fly for the longest stretches of the trip, most of the week I was driving. In fact, I feel like that’s all I did. Drive. You have to know me and my relationship with driving to understand how truly significant this is, but after a week of driving all over 4 states I am by and large unfamiliar with, I managed to always get where I was going. Not only without incident, but without so much as a wrong turn. It was unprecedented. And considering one evening found me in the thick of NYC rush-hour traffic, my ultimate goal being Long Island (um, has anyone ever tried driving to Long Island?), actually getting there—and in the dark of night, no less—made me want to fall to the floor of the blessed Marriott that housed me that evening and weep for having arrived in one piece.

Instead I wept when I got home last night. I’m not sure why. Partly because I was exhausted. Because the NYC drive surely took years off my life. Partly because I got to meet up with my Airman brother while on the road, and I’m so incredibly proud of him. Partly because the world is such a beautiful place, and one you can only see close up when you do exactly what I had done—drive. And perhaps partly because I returned to Cleveland full of tales from the road, and the only one here to greet me was my cat.

Since there is no one on hand to listen, I’ll have to tell you, dear readers, that a detour in Maryland took me through the most beautiful patch of land I’ve seen in years. I stopped in the middle of the winding country road just to take it all in. I glanced over my shoulder with a smile as I passed Coney Island and drove across the Verrazano Bridge on the clearest and most beautiful day imaginable. People had pulled off the road and gotten out of their cars just to look out and sigh for a minute before rolling on. And when I crossed the Susquehanna yesterday, I thought about Billy Collins and his poem about fishing in July. Not because I’ve ever fished the Susquehanna, but then again, neither has Billy. In any case, I’m grateful for the trip, grateful to be home, and grateful to now put away the GPS.

NOV
17

Thankful

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My life flashed before my eyes yesterday in hot yoga. Which reminds me--a few words about hot yoga: So. Hot. Granted my barefoot, tank-top-clad self thinks it feels breathtakingly cozy upon first walking in. But within about two minutes I feel grossly overheated. And about halfway through the workout I swear my heart starts palpitating, my body preparing for an imminent end. Having made it out alive yesterday, I felt a renewed appreciation for life, for sweat, for what the body can do while working out in 100 degrees of hotness. Which, incidentally, I should turn into a scandalous trilogy.

In the spirit of gratitude for not keeling over in the middle of downward dog, or maybe it was all these month of November gratitude musings I've seen on facebook, I started thinking of things I was grateful for, and in a moment that had me convinced I was hallucinating, the first thing I thought of was country music. It's like that forest scene on The Proposal where Sandra is asked to chant from the heart, and Ryan Reynolds says, "Balls? That's what came to your heart?" Look, I don't make the rules. And while not a hard core fan of the stuff, what came to my mind was country music. In particular, the Mary Chapin Carpenter album I just found at a used book sale.

See, I was introduced to country music at age 9 by my neighbors who watched CMT. And while I have been a spotty follower of the genre in the majority of the years since, any country song circa about 1992 is near and dear to my heart. Pam Tillis, remember her? How about Suzy Bogguss? Lorrie Morgan? I thought Something in Red was about the most dramatic and mature song I had ever heard. And don't even get me started on Trisha Yearwood's Walkaway Joe. Whoa.

I still like country music, although don't consider it as clutch as it used to be. And I sure wish our little T. Swizzle would re-countrify herself. Still, it's the morning station I listen to every day while getting ready for work, and it's what I most often play on the radio. Maybe it all reminds me of my childhood, of sneaking next door, or hoping my favorite video would be the next one on. For that childhood, and those neighbors, I am grateful. On this day and always. To quote Mary Chapin Carpenter, I feel lucky.

.

 

 

NOV
12

Snow by Month

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I got home tonight to find that my driveway had been staked. And so it begins. Although technically it began a few weeks ago with the surprise snow that left me without power or heat for a few days (I did not handle it well) and continued today with the first Lake Effect Snow Warning of the season. I took this picture on my way out the door, and for a moment I thought everything was beautiful. Until I stepped on the driveway and realized there was ice under the snow.

As a person living far from the place I call home, I'm asked fairly often if I like living in Cleveland. The truth is that I do enjoy living here, and there's definitely something about its ghetto-ness that inspires fierce loyalty, but the downside of living here is the snow. It will always be the snow. To help myself get through the months and months of awful weather, I've devised this Chart of Optimism:

October snow = This hardly ever happens and if it does it will be like once so don't even worry about it.

November snow = Still nothing consistent on the snow front so don't even worry about it.

December snow = Multiple storms, sometimes back to back, may discourage you, but you'll be on vacation half the month anyway so don't even worry about it.

January snow = You're in the thick of it now, so take a trip to California and don't even worry about it.

February snow = Coming up against record-breaking winter snow totals, you'll wish you had pushed your California trip until now, but you didn't and it's done and you're basically out of vacation time, so there's no point in worrying about it.

March snow = Though storms continue, it's technically spring and you're almost there so don't even worry about it.

April snow = It could happen and might even drop a couple inches on your birthday, but it'll be the last you see of snow for six more months, so don't even worry about it.

I feel better already.

.

NOV
09

The New Website

Just want to say a few words about the new website: I love it.

It's always hard for me to tackle anything having to do with technology and web-speak...which is why I did none of it myself. But even simply describing what I'm looking for can prove challenging for me. Maybe the site, or various aspects of it, are pictured in my head, but describing them is sometimes tricky. The same thing happens when I'm trying to describe my ideas for the overall look of my books and covers. "Not sure what to suggest, but something different." "How about something more vintagey?" Um, sure Tali. Coming right up.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the site and visit often. Even if only for the polls. I once frequented a website that I otherwise found totally useless just so I could vote in the weekly poll. I'm happy to be that site for you, voters.

.

 

 

 

NOV
04

Flee to the Cleve

You know that episode of Friends when Chandler and Monica take Erica on a tour of NYC and Chandler comes back to their apartment all decked out in touristy garb and declares, "New York is awesome!" He explains, "I've been to these places before, but I've never really seen them, you know." Now isn't that always the way.

I had company in town last week, and it gave me the rare opportunity to actually see Cleveland. It's no New York, as I believe I've mentioned pretty much weekly since this blog's inception, but I'm quite fond of it, and there's so much I'd like to be taking better advantage of. I kept thinking how much I was enjoying myself, how much more a person is able to do and see when she doesn't have to be at work. I know, I know, without work I wouldn't be able to afford to DO anything, I'm just saying (once again) how nice it would be to be independently wealthy. Which I will be once I sell about a million more books. Glass half full, people.

Anyway, here are a few shots from my week in the city. The city where I live but rarely see.

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OCT
22

The Shredder

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I have company coming into town this weekend. This is rather momentous, as no one ever has cause to come through Cleveland, so needless to say, my spare room needs a lot of work. Not only is it my writing room, but it's also the dump-anything-you-don't-want-to-hang-up-or-put-away-or-deal-with-right-now room.

Full printed out and marked up drafts of both of my manuscripts were in there, and since it seemed a little weird to just drop them in one of those Shred-It bins (nothing good can come from leaving manuscripts anywhere...isn't that the point of The Words?), I sat down last night to the task of shredding them. Of course, after about twenty minutes of shoving a constant stream of papers through the machine, I started to get sentimental. They were my words. My drafts. All my corrections and edits a smattering of red across each page. It doesn't matter, it won't be worth anything to anyone someday because notoriety is probably not in my cards, but it was enough to make me stop shredding. Well, that, and I had broken the shredder.

Tonight's task: Removing the year+'s worth of People magazines also being kept in the spare room and that need to be recycled. Pretty sure those I can part with.

OCT
19

Yoga: The Aftermath

The tight pants really weren't a big deal, in that I'm sure no one noticed. Except me, who kept looking down at myself and thinking, "Oh my gosh, what am I wearing??"

Overall, I have to say I enjoyed it. It will take some time to get the breathing right, as I had to concentrate so much on the poses themselves that the frequent "inhale up, exhale down" instructions went over my head. Or more likely over my butt, which was pointing proudly toward the ceiling during downward dog. And since a few of the moves stretched me in ways I really fought against being stretched, I can already tell the soreness that awaits me over the next few days will be brutal.

But I think that's good. It made an impact, right? Shook things up. And I'm looking forward to going back and getting better. And getting my mat a little sweaty.